Continuing the round-up of curious tidbits of local news and hot on the heels of yesterday's Pete Wentz post, we have the headline of another Chicago semi-celeb musician branching out with a different high-profile detour: Mat Devine, leader of veteran glam-pop band Kill Hannah, has landed a role in "SPIDER-MAN Turn Off the Dark," the big-budget Broadway rocktacular based on the Marvel comic, directed by Hollywood heavyweight Julie Taymor, and scored by (insert breathless exclamation here!) Bono and the Edge. According to Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt), he's playing the role of Vladimir Kravinoff/Grim Hunter. Er, right, sure"¦ I can see that.
Staying on the rock musical tip, when that dirty-minded dance-punk provocateur Peaches appeared on "Sound Opinions" earlier this year, she told us her next project would be a one-woman production of the greatest cheese-rock story ever told, "Jesus Christ Superstar." Then it seemed to have been torpedoed by the difficulties of securing performance rights. Now, "Peaches Christ Superstar" is on again -- hallelujah!" -- and it's coming to Chicago's Portage Theater on Dec. 14. (Watch www.peachesrocks.com for info on ticket sales.) Says the former Merrill Beth Nisker:
To perform "Jesus Christ Superstar" as a one-woman-song is an ambitious enterprise. It is very demanding and very difficult. When I was sixteen I often sang the whole musical to myself all alone in my room.‚ It tells an entire story without spoken text, only with vocals, in the style of a rock opera.‚ I'm a performer, my concerts are extravagant and play with exaggerations.‚ This project allows me to do without all this.‚ I wanted to confront this task totally exposed, because it is a possibility. It's a question of stamina.
Hey, if anybody can do it, Peaches can.
The most dedicated readers of this column -- as well as plenty who aren't, no doubt -- know that I am a sucker for all things Wire-related, most certainly including other bands covering the classic tunes by those art-punk geniuses. The formerly New Orleans-, now Brooklyn-based trio Callers is floating a free MP3 of its rendition of "Heartbeat," which, granted, is not as great as the one offered up years back by Chicago's Big Black, but still is pretty darn cool. Supporting its second album "Life of Love," out on October 12th from Western Vinyl (home of the Dirty Projectors), the group performs at that loveable dive Ronny's on Oct. 22.
Regular readers also may know that I love the wheezing, droning, buzzing sounds of old analog synthesizers and vintage keyboards -- sure wish I could make it to Moogfest in Asheville, N.C., at the end of October, but some dear friends' wedding beckons in New Hampshire instead -- and Jim Licka of local ambient/psychedelic-rockers Umbra and the Volcan Siege is a master at twirling those antique knobs and dials. According to a music industry press release:
He has just received the new M4000 from Streetly Electronics, the foremost experts in Mellotron restorations"¦ designed as an homage to the original MKII Mellotron. It has revolving drums, a chain-linked, failsafe cycling mechanism"¦‚ a positively pressurized cabinet to filter in clean air and protect the instrument from smoke and other contaminants, playback heads that are mounted in revolving collars so that each one can always be positioned for correct response and a standard 24-sound tape set based on Streetly's most popular tape sales over the last 5 years.
Not the usual sorta thing I'd post, but I figure other fans of weird keyboards will salivate over that photo the same way I did, and I'll just toss this in as an aside: I sure would love one of these machines for Christmas (though of course I'd settle for the Minimoog I've been asking of Santa for the last decade).
Finally, indulge me while I revel in one more obsession: the glories of super-producer, MENSA legend, and musical mastermind Brian Eno.
When me and the Vortis boys were recording at Wall to Wall last summer, we got to know Doug Kaplan as "Doug the Intern." But he also happens to be searching for the meaning of life at Northwestern University and serving as the general manager of WNUR (89.3-FM), and he now informs me that he's hosting a new show every Wednesday from 9 to 10 p.m. called "The Brian E-Show" focusing "solely on the music of Brian Eno -- solo stuff, collaborative work, and albums he produced."
The play list from week one: "Lay My Love" by Brian Eno and John Cale; "Leave-Me-Alone" by Zvuki Mu; "Tomorrow Never Knows" by 801; "This" from "Another Day on Earth"; "The Dance Pt. 2" by Eno and Laraaji; "Draw One Animal" from "Curiosities Vol. 1"; "Wolf and Duck," Eno's contribution to "Peter and the Wolf"; "Supporting Circle" from "Generative Music Vol. 1"; "I'll Come Running" live with the Winkies; "Sombre Reptiles" form "Another Green World" (one of his coolest EVER!); "Bars" from "Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy"; "Ladytron" by Roxy Music; "Two Rapid Formations" from "Music For Films," and "The Jezebel Spirit" by Eno and David Byrne.
Sure wish I could get the station in Lakeview. Guess I'll just have to settle for listening on the Net.